Summer is an exciting time, but for some families it’s a time of uncertainty. More than 300,000 children in Western Washington don’t have access to the meals they normally get at school, leaving many families in a difficult situation. This is where Kids Cafe comes in. Food Lifeline hosts 18 Kids Cafe sites throughout Western Washington bringing healthy and kid friendly foods to high need communities where more than half the students qualify for free and reduced lunches during the school year. By partnering with places like libraries, Boys & Girls clubs, and other community based organizations, thousands of children have access to nutritious meals during the summer months.
On August 26, Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA 9th District) paid a visit to the King County Library in Kent, one of Food Lifeline’s Kids Cafe sites. “The breakfast and lunch programs during the school year are great and needed, but these children don’t have access to food when they are out of school for the summer,” commented Representative Smith. “Statistics show that decent nutrition is critical for a child’s health and success. It is important that they are able to access food throughout the entire year, not just during the months they are in school.”
While at the King County Library in Kent, Congressman Smith met with Food Lifeline’s Kids Cafe Coordinator, Stephanie Jamieson, where he learned more about how the program operates. After asking many great questions, Congressman Smith remarked, “Food Lifeline and the Kids Cafe program are really important resources.” He also spent time meeting with King County Library Director, Gary Wasdin, Librarian Services Manager, Jose Garcia, and children’s librarian, Laurin Linscott.
On August 26, the Kids Cafe site at the King County Library in Kent wrapped up their summer meal program. They served meals every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and provided games, crafts, and a story time for kids and their families. Two United Way Vistas, Chawntee and Elisabeth, worked at the Kids Cafe site in Kent this summer handing out lunches and interacting with the children. Though they had finished their assignment the day before, they returned to serve one last meal as volunteers on August 26.
This summer, the Kids Cafe program has experienced tremendous growth, serving almost as many meals as all of last summer just within the first two weeks of launching. In July alone, Kids Cafe served over 33,000 meals and snacks.